Cólon: New media is now better than mainstream media

Youth revolt in 2008. A clerk works at the headquarters of a bank after a night of riots in Athens. December 2008. | ANDRÉS MOURENZA
A bank clerk at work after a night of riots in Athens, Greece in December 2008. | ANDRÉS MOURENZA

A little over a month ago, the magazine Revista 5W broke a speed record for the highest-earning journalism project on the Spanish crowdfunding platform Verkami. In 49 hours and 20 minutes, backers pledged over€25,000 to fund 5W’s international narrative and visual information magazine Revista 5W.

“Our niche is in the Spanish-speaking market,” said Agus Morales, reporter, coordinator and co-founder of Revista 5W. “We would love to reach a wider Latin American audience and talk to them about Africa, Asia and the Middle East.”

Revista 5W comes from Barcelona’s Colectivo 5W, S.L.,a group of eight Spanish journalists, photographers and a web developer.

The spirit of the magazine is in the name: to honor the 5W’s – who, what, when, where and why. Why is the Greek economy in shambles? Who has political power in New Delhi? What does ceasefire in Gaza mean for Israel and Hamas? Where did Osama Bin Laden hide during his last years?

A woman wraps the Greek flag around her shoulders during a protest against austerity measures in front of the Greek Parliament last February. | ANDRÉS MOURENZA
A woman wraps the Greek flag around her shoulders during a protest against austerity measures in front of the Greek Parliament last February. | ANDRÉS MOURENZA / 5W

Since its inception, the magazine has published international, socio-political, cultural and human rights narratives on its Medium blog. Backers of the project will receive a print edition of the magazine in December. The official website launches in September. One of the eight founders will travel to Africa, Asia or the Middle East to conduct an investigation on what happens after war near the end of 2015, the inaugural piece of an ongoing investigative journalism series, Morales said.

By collaborating with internationally-based photographers and photojournalists, Revista 5W will feature quality photos and timely narratives from around the world.

Details of the environment surrounding the house where Bin Laden lived. | AGUS MORALES
Details of the environment surrounding the house where Bin Laden lived. | AGUS MORALES

“We are excited to collaborate more with photography collectives Ruido Foto and Me-Mo in the future. There is a complementary element between us, which makes our collaboration natural,” said Morales. Longform visual storytelling collective Me-Mo also crowdfunded their magazine and interactive app last year and brought in about $25,000.

Another notable Spanish news startup launched this year: El Español, who after raising €3.5 million is now the considered the most successful crowdfunding campaign in the history of journalism.

Earlier this month, Morales, Me-Mo Magazine co-founder Jose Colón and Spanish photojournalist Ricardo G. Vilanova hosted the New Media and Photography Conference at the 5th International Fish-Eye Photo Meeting at La Virreina Image Centre in Barcelona.

Skeletons of houses after Israel's last offensive, which destroyed 140,000 homes. Beit Hanoun, North of the Gaza Strip, July 2014. | MIKEL AYESTARAN
Skeletons of houses after Israel’s last offensive, which destroyed 140,000 homes. Beit Hanoun, North of the Gaza Strip, July 2014. | MIKEL AYESTARAN

“We started a debate on whether Me-Mo Magazine and Revista 5W can compete with larger Spanish international media organizations,” said Colón.

While no conclusions was reached between the two, Colón is certain: the new media emerging in Spain is far better than traditional Spanish mass media.

A student reads a book at the Jawaharlal University of New Delhi, considered to be a focal point for leftist student movements in India. | IGOR G. BARBERO
A student reads a book at the Jawaharlal University of New Delhi, considered to be a focal point for leftist student movements in India. | IGOR G. BARBERO

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Lover of coffee, books, golden hour and plane tickets. Freelance writer, photographer and videographer based in La Paz, Bolivia.

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